Archive for January, 2018

NEW US NATIONAL DEFENSE STRATEGY: FOCUS ON GREAT POWER COMPETITION

January 20, 2018

Fox News on January 19, 2018 reported on the new National Defense Strategy of the United States. Excerpts below:

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned that the U.S. military’s advantage over Russia and China is “eroding,” when he unveiled the new US National Defense Strategy….The document also says that ISIS no longer remains a top threat.

“Great power competition, not terrorism, is now the primary focus of U.S. national security,” Mattis said. “We face growing threats from revisionist powers as different as China and Russia, nations that seek to create a world consistent with their authoritarian models.”

Mattis named the rogue regimes in North Korea and Iran as top threats as well. But the strategy does not ignore the ability of terrorist groups to persist and evolve. ISIS has largely been defeated in Iraq and Syria, but Mattis warned the group will keep trying to reestablish itself and make a comeback like Hezbollah and Al Qaeda.

He warned that America’s ability to respond to threats has diminished.

He also said, “We will modernize key capabilities, recognizing we cannot expect success fighting tomorrow’s conflicts with yesterday’s weapons or equipment.”

Mattis said the modernization of China’s military over the past two decades as well as Russia’s advantages coupled with the U.S fighting its longest war in the nation’s history have led to loss of a competitive advantage.

“To those who would threaten America’s experiment in democracy: if you challenge us, it will be your longest and worst day,” he warned.

This is the first national defense strategy in 10 years. The classified version of the strategy is five times bigger than the 11-page unclassified report released today.

Comment: This is good news not only for the United States but for the West as a whole. The great power threat of China and Russia has during the period 2008 to 2016 been underestimated by the American administration of Obama.

This is not the first time in US history. During World War Two there was a vast deception that kept Stalin’s henchmen on American federal payroll. This resulted in a sabotaged foreign policy in favor of the Soviet Union. Presidential aides such as Lauchlin Currie and Harry Hopkins exerted pro-communist influence on US policy. Massive breaches of internal security and betrayal of free-world interests were ignored by the US administrations. Countless American officials turned a blind eye to the penetration problem. Some of the worst betrayals was in the atomic weapons area which resulted in the Soviets being able to develop the atomic bomb.

Important is also the the United States will continue to defend against terrorist movements. With ISIS defeated in Iraq and Syria there could be new emerging threats from Hezbollah and Al Qaeda.

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THE GREATEST COLD WARRIOR – A NEW BOOK BY MAX BOOT

January 17, 2018

Washington Times on January 16, 2018 published a review of Max Boots latest book: The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam, Liveright, US dollars 35.00, 768 pages. Excerpts from the review by Gary Anderson below:

Edward Lansdale is probably the greatest cold warrior that most Americans have never heard of. Max Boot has written a fascinating account of how this California college humorist, frat boy and advertising executive evolved into a counterinsurgency expert before the term was even coined. He was a virtual shadow American proconsul in both the Philippines and South Vietnam in the 1950s wisely advising both Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay and South Vietnamese leader No Dinh Diem on how to deal with Communist inspired insurgencies.

His success in the Philippines was spectacular and made his reputation. In Vietnam he was originally successful, but saw his influence wane for reasons beyond his control. However, he became the father of today’s American counterinsurgency doctrine even though few American advisers have been able to replicate his skill in influencing foreign leaders.

Max Boot has become one of the master chroniclers of American counterinsurgency efforts, and his biography of Mr. Lansdale is a tribute to a guy who recognized the threat of insurgency in a post-World War II environment where most American leaders saw only brute force as a solution to any political-military problem.

Mr. Lansdale argued that success was dependent on getting the people to stop supporting the insurgents, and have some hope that the government was a better alternative. Eliminating insurgents militarily was only a secondary part of the Lansdale approach. It worked in the Philippines because Mr. Lansdale developed a unique brand of trust with that nation’s leader.

When he was asked to do the same things in South Vietnam, Mr. Lansdale was initially successful in developing a personal rapport with Prime Minister Diem. However, Mr. Lansdale eventually lost influence with Mr. Diem due to the machinations of Mr. Diem’s brother No Diem Nhu and his manipulative wife Madam Nhu.

Mr. Boot also points out that the differences in culture and language worked against Lansdale in Vietnam — he never developed a facility for foreign languages — but he was still able to develop a close personal relationship with Diem. Unlike the island archipelago of the Philippines, South Vietnam’s insurgents had sanctuary in North Vietnam and China that would prove fatal to the south in the end.

Mr. Lansdale eventually became an Air Force major general and Pentagon official; but he was never able to replicate the success inside the Washington Beltway accomplished in Asia, and he watched the American tragedy in Vietnam unfold despite several attempts to change policy on trips to Saigon before it fell to the Communists.

Mr. Lansdale’s ability to develop personal relationships with foreign leaders and guide their policy-making has never been fully replicated by his modern American adviser successors in fighting insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan.

His philosophy of attempting to separate the civilian population from the insurgents has now been codified in U.S. counterinsurgency doctrine. He was a firm believer that American constitutional democracy was far superior to the kind of authoritarianism that the Communists offered and believed that local forces, not Americans, should lead the fight.

This book should be read in Baghdad and Kabul, not only by Americans, but by local leaders.

Gary Anderson is a retired Marine Corps colonel who served as a civilian adviser in Iraq and Afghanistan.

FIVE TIMES THE SPEED OF SOUND – BOEING’S NEW HYPERSONIC STRIKE AIRCRAFT

January 17, 2018

Fox News on January 15, 2018, reported on Boeing’s new hypersonic strike aircraft. Excerpts below:

It happened at an event in Orlando, Florida, but it’s only a concept design for now.

The new aircraft will be a direct competitor to Lockheed martin’s upcoming SR-72.

These rival firms are racing to create a hypersonic aircraft that’s capable of stealthy recon assignments – and strike missions, too.

…Boeing’s hypersonics chief described how Boeing was planning a two-step development process for the new war plane.

The first stage would involve flight tests of an “F16-sized, single-engine” precursor vehicle that acts as a “proof of concept”.

The second stage is the creation of a “twin-engine, full-scale operational vehicle” that has roughly similar dimensions to the 107-foot-long SR-71.

Boeing’s end goal is an aircraft that can travel at speeds beyond Mach 5 – that’s five times the speed of sound.

The tricky part is that the SR-71 replacement needs to to be able to take off, accelerate, slow down and land all on its own – just like the original 1964 model.

Boeing is looking at using a conventional turbojet to hit Mach 3, then switching to a different configuration to boost beyond Mach 5.

DET BLIR ETT NYTT PSYKOLOGISKT FÖRSVAR I SVERIGE MEN ÄR DET FÖR SENT

January 15, 2018

I januari 2014 publicerade Kristianstadsbladet en insändare av författaren Bertil Häggman, där han beklagade nedrustningen av det civila psykologiska försvaret sedan 2006. Ett besök sommaren 2013 visade att Myndigheten för samhällsskydd och beredskaps (MSB) hemsida inte kunde presentera någon ny forskning på området. MSB har haft huvudansvaret under perioden efter det kalla krigets slut 1991. Allt man kunde finna var hänvisningar till äldre skrifter från det kalla kriget.

Ett visst uppvaknande skedde under 2014 och Statskontoret fick i uppdrag att utreda det psykologiska försvaret. Under 2017 kom så utredningsrapport 2017:5 (”Myndigheternas arbete med psykologiskt försvar”) där det konstaterades att de flesta statliga myndigheter hade verksamheter som är av betydelse för ett modernt psykologiskt försvar. Däremot är det bara en dryg tredjedel av myndigheterna som själva anser att de är en del av det psykologiska försvaret.

Att s-regeringen 2018 har agerat i frågan beror till stor del på en växande kritik för overksamhet på område psykologiskt försvar i borgerliga tidningar och från borgerliga försvarsexperter. Sverige kommer nu enligt statsministern att få en myndighet för psykologiskt försvar, men det kommer att ta tid att bygga upp den eftersom verksamheten praktiskt taget legat nere i över ett årtionde.

Den svenska nedrustningsskandalen efter det kalla kriget är unik. Sverige har det senaste årtiondet haft ett försvar som är svagast i Europa. Mycket talar för att Ryssland håller på att återuppliva Operation Polarka. Det var en gång Sovjets plan mot Sverige (och Norge samt Danmark). Då avslöjade den avhoppade tjeckiske generalmajoren Jan Sejna från 1968 att Moskva var berett att sätta in 1,5 miljoner man mot Skandinavien. Sydsverige beräknades vara ockuperat efter tre dagar. Den behövliga ockupationsarmén för Sverige, Norge och Danmark uppskattades då till 90 000 sovjetsoldater.

Vid anfallet skulle med hänsyn till Sveriges stora territorium osedvanligt mycket fallskärmssoldater användas. Huvudargumentet för ockupationen var under det kalla kriget att Moskva ville ”värna om svensk alliansfrihet”. Generalmajor Sejna uppgav att ockupationen av Sverige skulle vara väl förberedd. Det fanns fler sovjetiska agenter i Sverige än i något annat land i Västeuropa i förhållande till befolkningen. I Sverige, Norge och Danmark fanns 60 sovjetiska huvudagenter. Var och en hade i sin tur ett nätverk av spioner och agenter under sig. Listor på svenskar som skulle arresteras, fängslas och likvideras fanns färdiga i Moskva.

Mer information om Operation Polarka finns i Bertil Häggmans skrift ”Operation Polarka (1974). Tidskriften Se publicerade under 1971 en serie artiklar om det sovjetiska hotet mot Sverige byggda på Sejnas avslöjanden. Här nedan ett citat:

”Upplysningar, som samlas in om industri och näringsliv, analyseras av KGB. Informationerna bidrar till att bestämma vilka mål som sabotagegrupper kan ge sig i kast med. Sådan mål är redan utsedda och kartotekförda i Kreml. Dessa spioner hjälper dessutom till att samla negativa informationer om betydande personer i ett land. Sådana upplysningar eller meritförteckningar skall användas för att oskadliggöra personer genom att förtala dem i deras eget land och på det sättet få dem ur spel. Jag vet att Kreml har tusen och åter tusen namn från Sverige, Norge och Danmark i sina listor. De täcker namn från alla näringsgrenar och hela det politiska livet, inklusive journalister och konstnärer. Under en ockupation av Skandinavien blir många av dessa människor ögonblickligen arresterade och avrättade. Ryska ”domstolar” har faktiskt redan utsetts för sådana uppdrag. De skall träda i kraft omedelbart efter det att länderna ockuperats. ”

Inför nya hot från Ryssland efter det kalla kriget har svenska politiker utan folkligt stöd nedrustat det svenska försvaret på de flesta områden. Utan NATO-medlemskap utsätter den socialdemokratiska regeringen Sverige för stora risker.

CHINA MOVING INTO FORMER ”TRIBUTARY TERRITORY” WITH MAJOR INVESTMENTS

January 11, 2018

Fox News on January 11, 2018 reported that Cambodia and China have signed nearly 20 agreements worth several billion dollars to develop the impoverished Southeast Asian country’s infrastructure, agriculture and health care. Excerpts below:

The agreements and memorandums of understanding were signed during a meeting between Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Chinese counterpart, Li Keqiang.

Among the major agreements is building a new expressway more than 200 kilometers (125 miles) long linking the capital, Phnom Penh, with the coastal city of Sihanoukville,, and a new Phnom Penh international airport.

Cambodia was part of the tribute system was established during the Chinese Han dynasty. The first tributary missions arrived in China around the first century BC. Cambodia was a tributary state to China from 616 to 1863. Annam (part of Vietnam) sent tributary missions to China and in the case of Laos it was from 1400 to 1912. Burma and Thailand were also linked to China for centuries.

Comment: From the period 2010 to 2012 China has been increasingly assertive even aggressive in its relations with South-East Asian nation but in other areas as well.

China seems to believe that America’s role in the worldwide financial crisis as well as the costly military commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan have weakened the United States. The soft China policy of Washington DC from 2008 to 2016. The rising China has interpreted this as an indication of Western weakness.

It is important to introduce geopolitical thinking when studying the other Chinese flashpoint of the South China Sea. During the first decade of the 21st century a Greater China has emerged. China must be prevented from having too much influence in the Rimland according to Dutch-American geopolitician Nicholas Spykman (1893 – 1943). He was the founder of the Yale Institute of International Relations. The Rimland of Eurasia from Norway to the Bering Strait is of main importance in geopolitics according to Spykman The upheavals in the Greater Middle East since the beginning of the twentyfirst century and the growing tensions in South Asia and the Korean Peninsula is reason to watch China as both landpower and seapower.